brian pontolilo, yoga teacher, charleston yoga, charleston, vinyasa, power yoga

Trainings / Certifications: 
200 and 300 hour TTs, Sanctuary Power Yoga, Torrington, CT
Yin Yoga TT with Sagel Urlacher
Pranayama TT with Gina Norman
Karma Yoga, Sivananda Yoga Ashram

Hometown:  I grew up in Guilford, CT. But I’ve barely been back there since I left for college because my family and most of my friends moved out of town at that point. I settled in another part of CT for a while. Now the question is: will Charleston become my hometown?

When I’m not teaching, you might find me:  Working at my full-time job, walking on the Ravenel Bridge or swimming at one of our beaches, learning to making fermented foods and drinks and different kinds of dough, likely drinking coffee if it’s before noon, and practicing yoga and meditation, of course.

My mantra:  My wife and I spent some time living in an ashram last year and the schedule included so much chanting that it was impossible not to have a mantra in your head throughout the day, which is so much better than what’s usually going on in my head. My personal mantra is “May all beings be at ease.” It’s from the Buddha’s teachings on loving kindness.

My “at bat” song:  Oddly, they are jazz tunes like Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” that do it for me. I think it is the combination of emotion, energy, and restraint. And “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Remember that one?

In my class you will/can expect: to both be challenged to find your edge and encouraged to know when to back off, so that your practice is just that, your practice. To be guided into the present through a focus on alignment and breathing and to work skillfully with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that arise. Of course, if it is a power yoga class, you can expect to work hard, and if it a restorative yoga class, you can expect to release and relax.

Badass moment:  I’d say that it was the two times I quit my job. The first time was because I wasn’t digging it and I was asked to lay people off. I figured I’d step aside to let someone who liked their job keep it. The second time was to move to Charleston. But the thing is, I’ve gone back to the company both times. Now they let me work from home.

Yoga myth:  Yoga is the myth. We’ve inherited thousands of years of tradition and lineages, with as many varieties of practice, all to find out that we’ve been perfect all along. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t strive to transform and grow as human beings, but through that effort we find that our true self doesn’t need any fixing.

Most influential mentor:  My most influential yoga mentor is Heather Rems Korwin from Sanctuary Power Yoga in Torrington, CT. Heather taught me effective cues, sequencing, adjustments, and all that jazz. More importantly, me taught me to balance acceptance and integrity in yoga studio settings where students’ intentions, bodies, emotions, age, gender, experience, personalities, (and much more) vary so widely.

Party Pose:  You’ll have to invite me to a party to find out!

I dream: of equality for all beings. But on a more selfish level, living in a super remote place or traveling endlessly with just a backpack.